When you are missing a tooth, it is not a happy time for your mouth…
An ugly gap appears. You start to make whistling sounds. Your teeth may shift causing your bite to become unstable.
Teeth may become temperature sensitive. Bone loss occurs. Gums shrink too. Food gets stuck between your teeth. It can be annoying.
When considering options to replace a missing tooth, I find that it’s best to think about it logically. Either way, it is an investment in time and money.
The fixed bridge is made by drilling down the tooth on either side of the missing tooth. It requires local anesthesia. It takes 2-4 appointments to complete the process depending on the aesthetic requirements and fit of the prosthesis (fixed bridge). The cost for the bridge may be in the range of $6,000 – $9,000. The complications of a fixed bridge may include the need for a root canal, repeated cavities due to leakage under the bridge.
The dental implant and new tooth can be installed in one appointment. You also leave with a custom-crafted resin tooth. You can smile again too! There is a follow-up post op exam to check the healing progress. There is a third visit to install the final ceramic tooth. The cost for the dental implant, abutment and crown may be in the range of $5,100 to $8,000 depending on the need for bone grafting and aesthetic requirements of the case.
The dental implant leaves the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth preserved. There is no need to drill on other teeth to have the one dental implant. If there is more than two teeth missing it is not necessary to have a dental implant for every single missing tooth. Dental implants can be placed spread out to support your new teeth (prosthesis).
The greater investment for the long term is the dental implant. The reason I say that is because the dental implant cannot get cavities.
The dental implant is very resistant to damage from acids as well. The fixed bridge option may yield cavities – that requires the fixed bridge to be replaced in 5-10 years…sometimes sooner! It is very important to understand how fixed bridges fail, so that you can have good strategies for success. Dirty Mouth may improve your understanding of this process.
Logically, the dental implant option may be more logical to replace one missing tooth.
The dental implant is most often the better choice, but not always. It’s best to consult with a dentist to examine:
- Your nutrition regimen
- Your home care regimen
- Your dental knowledge of prevention habits
- Your ability to follow directions
- Your ability to follow up
- Your medical history
- Your dental history and especially cavities (caries)
Please consider the logical process of fixed bridge versus a dental implant – when needing to replace one missing tooth.
Do let us know if you have any questions about bridges or implants!
Dr. Joe Kravitz, DDS, MS
Prosthodontist, Author and Speaker